Welcome, John. You have chosen a beautiful place to live.
Regarding your question on solar hydronic energy, I would first contact the Vancouver Renewable Energy Coop. Their site may have some value, but their staff have more experience than many in BC (sadly).
I am currently installing 10 PV panels on a mid-sized garden shed, and will then turn to the double (4'x16') solar-hydronic panels for the main house roof, which will feed down into a heat transfer tank to prewarm all water entering my combined DHW/Home heater. There are indeed surprisingly few people experienced in, let alone involved in, this kind of work. I also find that personally custom-built solutions and work-arounds vastly improve the performance of most off-the-shelf products.